Coping with grief during the holidays without loved ones

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The holidays can be a festive, lighthearted time of the year. However, for some it can be a devastating, emotional time for people who have lost a loved one.

According to Kathy Tortoreo, Director of Crisis Services at Family Support Services, holidays can be a painful reminder of loved ones who are no longer with us.

Tortoreo explained, “People who lose someone, people who have had death in the family… they don’t ever forget about that. The pain is really always there, but when that focus is on family so much it’s just an acute reminder of that loss.”

Having experienced this type of grief firsthand, Tortoreo said losing a loved one can be especially tough this time of year.

“I mean I’m someone that has lost a daughter. She died nine years ago and those times come in waves. There are moments when I can talk about it without a problem and there are moments when I start bringing it up that I become awashed with that sorrow,” said Tortoreo.

One of the best recommended things to do while remembering those no longer with us is to talk it out.

Tortoreo continued, “So many people want to push this down and they don’t want to have to experience the pain, because it hurts like…it’s indescribable. But the truth is that in order to process your pain, you have to feel that pain. You have to be in that moment.”

Additionally, Tortoreo said do not be afraid to honor loved ones that are no longer here.

“Continue to be who you are, feel that love, and then in the holidays maybe do things that honor that person. Hang their Christmas stocking, light those candles for whatever holiday they’re celebrating,” said Tortoreo.

By doing this and talking it out, your loved one’s memory can live on forever.

She stated, “And you’ve got to talk about that because the last thing any of us want to do is forget the person that we’ve lost. So we talk about them and we tell the stories, and even though that hurts.. that hurt is going to be there whether you talk about them or not.”

Tortoreo said while many choose to grieve in solitude, Family Support Services can offer counseling services, crisis intervention, and there is always access to suicide hotlines locally, along with the FSS Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline.

The number for the Family Support Services of Amarillo’s 24 Hour Crisis Hotline is 806-374-5433.

The number to the FSS Office is 806-342-2500.

Their website can be found at fss-ama.org.


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